Garden Journal 18.1.20

Welcome! Join me here regularly to catch up on my gardening endeavours in this GardeningWays journal. I spend much of my time gardening professionally for Rachel de Thame in Gloucestershire, and my journal picks up on progress in her garden plus other horticultural highlights that might pop up during my week.

I join in with the SixonSaturday meme that continues to blossom on social media each week, as I find it a perfect way to turn images into journal entries that effectively record my ongoing gardening story. The following text therefore aims to give a little more background for each of the chosen images.

SixOnSaturday images for GardeningWays garden journal by Gary Webb
SixOnSaturday

This past week has been, I’m not ashamed to say, one for testing morale. If there was a mere hint of rain mentioned in the forecast, we received it and more besides – and I’ll waste no more words on storm Brendan…

Beneath and between the showers however, the gardening week continued and much was achieved. Now, although a frosty weekend is upon us; the sun is beaming for the weekend and all is good!

To start my six for this week then, I look to snowdrops that are stretching their stems all over the place, signalling hope and a fresh start to the gardening year. I will be sure to post more images of these little stunners as the next few weeks pass, and will be searching for any unusual ones beside the perfect snowy white nivalis.

Snowdrops  in the morning sunshine
Snowdrops glowing in the morning light…

In my home garden I’ve a handful of containers that were freshly potted in the autumn with a range of bulbs, many of which are now shooting from the damp Compost – peat free I hasten to add.

Naturally I’ve recorded what was planted in each container, but I like to, indeed I’m very good at forgetting what bulb mixes I’ve planted in any given pot, which I believe only increases the surprise when the blooms do eventually arrive. What you’re looking at in the image below is a container full of hope and anticipation…

Containerised bulbs showing their presence

The next image shows a mature Viburnum, likely bodnantense ‘Dawn’ that I look after in my home garden. Well, I say look after, I tend to leave it alone as it’s a great perch for birds who drop down from a nearby birch tree. They hop between and inspect its tangled branches in search of insects, or to reach a hanging suet block.

The controlling gardener in me knows this wonderfully fragrant shrub would benefit from maybe two stems removing from its base, but for once, no, I’m content to let it do its own thing, and to enjoy it at its full, natural height.

Viburnu bodnantense ‘Dawn’
Sunlit scented Viburnum

Next up is a ‘pruning’ task as I’d say, for amongst the tangled mass below is a very strong and fine climbing rose that has simply had a few seasons to stretch its wings. This time, the controlling gardener encouraged me not to fire up the hedge cutter, but to work through steadily so that I didn’t cut out stems that would later prove useful…

The ‘before’ image…

Well, as you’ll see below, there doesn’t appear to be much left at all, but what the image isn’t great at showing is a slightly thinned branch network that I’ve retained, and some strong new stems that have been tied in along both rear walls.

Whilst I type right now with thorn pricked hands, this rose is now back within its own space having good light and air to all its stems and, hopefully, all its flowers this year (Or maybe next year!)

Much left to do, but it’s getting there…

Finally, some bare walnut branches that throw the most exquisite shapes against the fading but importantly clear Friday evening sky – an attempt to sugar-coat the week maybe..?

I can’t finish this week’s journal without a quick mention of the fact that I’m presently in the process of being signed up as a trustee for Silent Space – indeed early yesterday morning our first ‘Skype’ meeting saw the first discussions taking place with the team, and the true potentially of Silent Space making itself known! All very exciting and I’m looking forward to writing more about this initiative very soon.

Silhouetted walnut branches
The sun has set on another productive week

Let me just say that if you don’t have a ‘Silent Space’ in a garden or green space near you – then you should! All the info is available in the link below, including a new map of Silent Space locations, and if you’ve engaged in a Silent Space already then I’d love to hear of your experience.

Well that’s all for this week, a week of battling with the weather and roses, of reclaiming lost walls and terraces, of hardwood cuttings and container maintenance. It was also a week packed with sightings of new shoots growing from ground that we know doesn’t sleep, of working alongside the ever friendly, if cautious robin, and a treat of seeing a charm of goldfinches flee from some Verbena flower heads outside my office door – it’s all happening out there!

Kind regards, Gary Webb, GardeningWays.

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